After its launch in 2003 on the fields of nearby Montelago, the festival moved several years ago to its current site at the location of Taverna in the municipality of Serravalle di Chienti on the border of the Italian regions of Le Marche and Umbria. Over the years the festival has developed into central Italy’s largest Celtic festival, and today attracts over 20,000 enthusiasts as part of the growing “Montelago community.” The event is supported by several government entities from the regional level down to local municipalities, and enjoys the patronage of the Irish Embassy in Italy. More recently it has attracted the attention of the Italian government’s Ministry of Youth, which considers the festival to be of significant cultural and social interest.
This year’s music performances are split between the main stage and the Mortimer Pub (a new addition for 2012), and run continuously on Friday 3rd August from 16:00 until the early hours of Saturday morning, and on 4th August from mid-afternoon until sunrise on Sunday. Having attracted celebrated Celtic performers such as Hevia (Spain), Kila (Ireland), and Berrogüetto (Galicia) in previous editions, this year’s lineup features twelve groups from Scotland, Spain, and Italy.
In addition to musical entertainment, there are also Celtic games (such as tossing the caber), traditional Celtic music and dance workshops, a 7-a-side rugby tournament, fantasy literature presentations, a Celtic village recreation, and over 50 stalls offering crafts, clothing, and curiosities. There is also a stand dedicated to Tolkein.
On site are a camping area, food and beer stands, a large illuminated parking area, field hospital, chemical toilets, baby park, and a “refreshing point” offering sprays of cool water in the August heat. A bus service will run from Foligno station in Umbria to the festival. Entrance for the weekend cost 20 euro.
“2012 was meant to herald the end of the world, but we would rather pronounce it the 10th anniversary of the Montelago Celtic Festival,” said artistic directors and chief organizers Maurizio Serafini and Luciano Monceri. “Over the years it’s developed into Italy’s largest druid festival, thanks mainly to the growing identity of the Montelago community. For the past 10 years, young people have been meeting here to share a smile and a beer, and to dance until dawn to the mellow tunes of the harp. It’s a testament to their attitude and sense of community that in ten years we haven’t had a single unfortunate incident. In today’s world of crisis and financial constraints, it’s a challenge to put the festival together, but it’s for these young people and their spirit that we work hard to ensure not only its survival, but also its success.”
The festival is organized by Arte Nomade (http://www.artenomade.com).